"The inspirations to be more inoperative"

« previous post | next post »

Recently I was doing some background research on Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), and one of the references that Google Scholar handed me was a Semantic Scholar page for J.A. Willeford and J. Burleigh, "Handbook of central auditory processing disorders in children", 1985, with the following abstract:

The handbook of central auditory processing disorders in children that we provide for you will be ultimate to give preference. This reading book is your chosen book to accompany you when in your free time, in your lonely. This kind of book can help you to heal the lonely and get or add the inspirations to be more inoperative. Yeah, book as the widow of the world can be very inspiring manners. As here, this book is also created by an inspiring author that can make influences of you to do more.

According to Semantic Scholar's "about us" explanation,

We are a team of researchers and engineers at the Allen Institute for AI building a smarter way to search and discover scientific knowledge, powered by state-of-the-art AI technology, completely free to use by scholars everywhere.

So apparently the folks at AI2 got some wires crossed, and turned Grover loose on Semantic Scholar after training it on a corpus of Chinese scam pages? Or something.

No, really, that abstract seems to be semi-fixed text used in some low-quality link farms, which AI2's algorithms were not smart enough to recognize as nonsense, and have gathered up in about 1,300 other pseudo-citations, out of the 56,800 copies that Google finds on the web. This is a little surprising, because very simple old-fashioned methods for detecting duplicated or nonsensical text would catch such stuff.

The obligatory screenshots:


  1. Laura Morland said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 8:04 am

    I find the phrase "in your lonely" quite touching!

    However, I'm not sure that my no. 1 choice of a book that I'd offer to my lonely friends would be _The Handbook of Central Auditory Processing Disorders in Children_. It sounds a bit depressing, actually.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 9:58 am

    Will we ever reach the stage where the automatic replication of garbage overwhelms the usefulness of the system?

  3. david said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 10:07 am

    AI has recently created a successful ‘clickbait’ blog post.


  4. Jennifer Sheffield said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 10:47 am

    Laura Morland: You do not agree that this kind of book can help you to heal the lonely?

  5. DaveK said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 11:47 am

    I don’t know about anyone else but I have all the inspiration to be inoperable I need.

  6. Yuval said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 12:17 pm

    @david: AI2 =/= Open AI.

  7. MattF said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 1:56 pm

    An old friend of mine used to say that we’ll never have artificial intelligence until we have artificial stupidity. By that criterion, we’re on the way.

  8. Randy Hudson said,

    September 17, 2020 @ 4:41 pm

    Neal Stephenson uses the term "Artificial Inanity" for something like this in his novel Anathem:

    “Early in the Reticulum — thousands of years ago — it became almost useless because it was cluttered with faulty, obsolete, or downright misleading information,” Sammann said.
    “Crap, you once called it,” I reminded him.
    “Yes — a technical term. So crap filtering became important. Businesses were built around it. Some of those businesses came up with a clever plan to make more money: they poisoned the well. They began to put crap on the Reticulum deliberately, forcing people to use their products to filter that crap back out. They created syndevs [=computers] whose sole purpose was to spew crap into the Reticulum. But it had to be good crap. […] But it didn’t really take off until the military got interested.”
    “As a tactic for planting misinformation in the enemy’s reticules, you mean,” Osa said. “This I know about. You are referring to the Artificial Inanity programs of the mid–First Millennium A.R.”

  9. Barbara Phillips Long said,

    September 18, 2020 @ 1:33 am

    As I read a lot and am a widow, I have been wondering if once this book heals my lonely, could I then aspire to be a “widow of the world”? I don’t have inspiring manners, but I read Miss Manners, who does try her best to inspire manners.

    [(myl) Somewhere, John Cage is smiling.]

  10. amy said,

    September 20, 2020 @ 7:43 pm

    I've come across plenty of spam like that in search results, which looks like it was run through a thesaurus multiple times.

  11. Y said,

    September 22, 2020 @ 9:19 pm

    Searching for "will be ultimate to give preference" yields many titles with that enticement. Thus I learn that "The Year 10 Maths Exam Papers And Answers", "The mortgage servicing policies and procedures manual", and "the the nigerian revolution and the biafran war" will all put that pep in the step of my lonely.

RSS feed for comments on this post